NASCA Announces Janel L. Forde as First African American Vice President of the Executive Committee, Marking First All-Female President and Vice President Leadership

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) announced the election of Janel L. Forde as the first African American Vice President of the Executive Committee. Forde’s election signifies the first all-female leadership of NASCA’s Executive Committee as she joins new Executive Committee President Christi Branscom.

Forde’s dedication to raising industry standards is made apparent by her prior service on the Executive Committee and her commitment to actively engaging with her colleagues. When asked about her new role as Vice President, Forde noted that she “is ready to get to work to further advance the role of chief administrators by uniting her colleagues to join forces as a powerful voice in state government leadership across the country.”

“I am honored to serve as Vice President of NASCA’s Executive Committee,” Forde said. “I look forward to furthering NASCA’s mission to improve state government operations, and I am likewise thrilled to make association history in doing so as President Branscom and I will be the first all-female leadership team.”

Forde is the Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS). CMS is the operational engine enabling more than 80 statewide agencies, boards, and commissions to deliver efficient and reliable services to all Illinois residents.

CMS oversees administrative services for Illinois’ executive agencies with an annual budget of nearly $8 billion and 800 full-time employees. These services include human resources, benefits for employees and retirees, facilities management, diversity leadership for public contracting and State hiring, joint purchasing coordination, fleet management, surplus property administration, communications services, internal audits, and administrative hearings.

At CMS, Forde has focused on expanding and improving administration and operational outcomes through a program called Rapid Results. The program builds the leadership and management skills that enable state executive agencies to continuously improve service processes internally, by identifying and eliminating waste and building service value to the end customer.

In addition to her new Officer role, she currently serves as Chair of the State of Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program (supplier diversity) and was formerly a Board Member for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the area’s regional planning body and the Chicago Continuum of Care (CoC), established by HUD to provide a comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness.

Before entering the public sector, Forde worked as a consultant in the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Chicago office, where she specialized in the financial services and operations sectors. She is also an American Express and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants alumna. Prior to her cabinet appointment by Governor JB Pritzker, Forde served in several leadership roles for the City of Chicago, most recently as Chief Operating Officer under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Earlier in her career, Forde focused her leadership skills on primary and secondary education, first as a Director in the Office of the CEO for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the nation’s third largest school district and later as Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Forde holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where she became a Toigo fellow; a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and is a proud alumna of The Winsor School in Boston, Massachusetts.

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